Category Archives: memoir

I’m Crossing the Finish Line: Work as Play

After writing for 5 minutes about ‘crossing the finish line’ while visualizing and drawing that finish line in my visual journal, I realized that I had bumped up my ‘Can Do’ and deflated my ‘Critic’.

This is what I wrote: When I see myself crossing the finish line, I am smiling, ecstatic, filled up, and joyful. Treats and celebration await! When I cross the finish line I embrace the moment, playing in the everyday of my life. All the work that has led me here feels so worth it in this moment. I can do anything! Life is abundant. I’m clear, focused and yet–soft, gentle, receiving. Whoo! There is more to come but for now–I am enough!

After I completed my writing, I remembered the ‘Start Your Memoir’ challenge that I offered in February 2017. I am really good at new starts and now I am good at ‘crossing the finish line’. How about you? Listen to my podcast and learn more about the ‘Art of Playing in the Everyday’ and how work can be play (which leads us through the portal to creativity and innovation in our work). Imagine that!

Listen to: I’m Crossing the Finish Line: Work as Play

Want to learn more or work with me as a mentor and creative coach? I’d love to talk with you!

Sign-up for ‘Play Notes‘, our bi-weekly newsletter and receive a free downloadable copy of  ‘The Art of Playing in the Everyday’ e-book.

Please leave a comment following this post/podcast or post a comment on the Play=Peace Facebook page.

Deep in the Muck: To Be Courageous + En-Courage-ing

[ctt template=”5″ link=”CX20s” via=”no” nofollow=”yes”]On my Knees and in the Muck[/ctt]

Courage today feels like a crawl in the muck on my  hands and knees

like so many women who give birth while allowing gravity to do all the work.

 

birth can take place too fast and a woman feels ripped apart. or she can slow down and breathe.

This woman trusts her gut and doesn’t know whether others will like her and what she creates…

it’s not any of her business what they like…

This woman eliminates quickly what is not needed so that there is room for what is meant to come into the world.

Birth is messy. There is that business of elimination, tears, sweat, fluids running down the legs, first milk dripping from breasts. There is moaning, cursing, yelling, and primal vocal sounds that call out the names of our many ancestors who have gone before us.

At 64, I am playing in the muck of who I am becoming…

I am continuing to birth. This time I am birthing a courageous woman. an encouraging woman.

  • Do I have enough courage to share what I find meaningful so others may benefit from the de-light of my understanding?
  • Can I stay open and not act out of fear so that the story continues to unfold or will I shut down and end the story prematurely?
  • Am I courageous enough to forgive myself?

I am in the muck. I feel like I am being carried by a mudslide to its end where I will be buried alive. No, I find my way to flow and I am able to ride it out.

The sun comes out from behind the dark clouds and I breathe…

I don’t have the answers. First listen. Slow down. Ask for help. There are helpers out there. You don’t have to do this alone. Being courageous doesn’t mean moving fast or taking action without the information you need. Wait. Be patient. Cry as the tears come.

 

 

 

 

 

Tell the Story of Who You Are With Your Whole Heart

Important Question: What is keeping me from completing my memoir?

Psyche’s Answer: You must give birth to and release what you have been carefully nurturing for soooo long!

Courage: to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart

In 1987 I released my newborn into the waiting arms of his adoptive mom.

30 years later, I am struggling to release the story of who I am and what I am becoming…

After my mom died in 2008 I dreamed:

In the middle of the front yard of our home there are large stones that spell out a word:

The word is COURAGE


I became the Goddess without the feminine ground that would return me to humanity. 
I am beginning to understand the power of archetype. I am conscious and making choices YES!
This morning I wrote down a new writing schedule in my journal. These hours will be devoted to writing and preparation for birth.
I begin to page through the edited version of my manuscript and I see the words
bird
raven 
butterfly
and am able to fly, and dive deep, anew…and where I never imagined possible, until now. ~synchronicity in the moment of writing/excerpt from a friend’s email

I am doing what needs to be done to complete my memoir, perform my life, discover more…
My surrogate son’s 30th birthday is Saturday. This is the first birthday I am able to wish him a
Happy Birthday!
 I am celebrating my son’s life, our story.
What I said yes to…
I will never say yes to again…
AND…
I am the woman, I am today because of my experience as a surrogate mother
AND
because I play
because I create
because I write… I am READY to complete a lengthy work filled with story, images, dreams, and letters.
I am READY to deepen my work and accept the challenge of completing my work. It is difficult to write about completion and release…there’s a lot for me to learn. This is another step in making sense of what holds me back. Not wanting to let go has brought me to tears, sobbing, many times. I can do this!
IMAGINE what will birth next?!
I’m going to keep writing and watch to see what synchronicities emerge. Undoubtedly many of these connections will bring difficulties and challenges + de-light!
Want to find out more about our Memoir Project? Great! 
 

Conception: Each Story Has A Beginning and Then…

Experience tells me that writing memoir is first–to conceive.

…to become pregnant with…

play and create

Its taken many years of playing with art-making, writing, and storytelling to come to an understanding of my life view and play-based process. In the end, It’s really simple! Play opens the Door to Creativity.

conception

There are events in our lives that change everything, shape our life view and how we move in the world, influence what actions we take to create a better world. These experiences are seeds that grow in understanding as we develop.

My playful journey and creative process really took off when I understood that my experience of being a surrogate mother was not the real story, but, instead, a core event in my life that helped me turn a corner and understand my life’s purpose.

 pregnancy

As we grow and develop there are times when life offers us challenges and at other times we can feel at ease with the world. Some of the parts of the creative process may be effortless and others may feel like we are laboring and having to push really hard to force our creation into the world!

I’ve written and re-drafted a number of forms of my memoir’s manuscript over the last 10 years+ and have kept a running journal of my dreams, emotions, and insights as I’ve continued to progress as a writer. My journaling has been written by hand. In the last few years my journals have become visual and now include images, notes, and other treasures.

postpartum

After we give birth to any creation there is a fourth stage of labor, the postpartum.

The after-birth

My postpartum includes all that has happened since the birth of my surrogate son. Everything I have learned from art-making, performance, and writing about my experience influences my life’s work and life path.


The 21-Day ‘Start Writing Your Memoir’ Challenge is accepting registrations now.

Click Here for registration and details!

 

Play: A Mutual Exchange of Gifts

“The nature of living and loving is the act of reciprocity. As women, we are told that to be the guest is to receive. We are told that to be the host is to give. But what if it is the reverse? What if it is the guest who gives to the host and it is the host who receives from the guest each time she sets her table to welcome and feed those she loves?

photo

To be the guest and the host simultaneously is to imagine a mutual exchange of gifts predicated on respect and joy. If we could adopt this truth, perhaps we as women would be less likely to become martyrs.” ~Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

I LOVE Terry Tempest Williams! One of my favorite books that I go back time-and-time again to is When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

I took an afternoon walk and then sat down to write a post about the benefits of volunteering this summer. After writing for a bit I did a Google search to look for quotes on volunteering and service. As I read through the list of quotes I began to squirm. Something didn’t feel right.

Yet another lesson…

It wasn’t until I found Terry’s quote that I started to understand. Once again I couldn’t see what was so obvious but in my Shadow (hidden away). What I am being pushed to explore are the many ways I can volunteer–or freely offer to share my gifts.

  • giving and receiving are key words in my ongoing story.
  • important puzzle pieces in my memoir project

Volunteering–freely offering to share your gifts

  • What is too much giving?
  • Who am I becoming as I help to instill a love of nature, music, and the arts in others?
  • What is my ethic as a volunteer?
  • What is most important?

My ethic is play

FullSizeRender

Playing with a mutual ex (change) of gifts

This one is challenging.

Play is joy. Playing with our painful experiences brings joy. Even though I’ve written about giving and receiving, setting healthy boundaries, and creating balance in life for years…

This one is challenging.

Shadow play is the only way for me (or any of us) to live authentically, free to share our gifts, our stories.

  • In my 20s I borrow money and give gifts to my friends in exchange for recognition.
  • In my 30s I volunteer to give away a baby and following that give-away begin to put the puzzle pieces together and visualize a healthier picture of myself as a giver and receiver.
  • In my 40s I re-marry and am diagnosed with breast cancer. These transitions in my life provide me with opportunities to practice receiving from others with a full heart. Trials and errors continue with what and how I give to others but things are improving.
  • In my 50s both of my parents die. With their deaths comes an understanding of my own mortality and a desire to create positive change.

Now I’m in my 60s…

This one is challenging.

I am playing. Sharing my ongoing story.

Helping others to create a playful foundation.

Focusing on the Important Bits: Orange is the Best Color

During a graduation celebration at my daughter’s home last weekend I heard my grandson, Chase, call to me in the backyard.

Nana!

I bent down to give Chase a hug. After we embraced, he said excitedly,

Nana, I saw a sunset! IMG_3731

How wonderful Chase. What colors did you see?

After pausing for a minute, Chase said,

Orange is the best.

and then, he ran off to play with the other kids…


When Chase told me about the Beauty he witnessed I remembered:

Dreams that my Mom shared with me in preparation for death. Dreams of being levitated and carried gently on a magic carpet by angels. Dreams of travel. Dreams of being visited by deceased family members and friends.


The sun sets each evening in the west preparing us for the final descent of our lives.

Each moment in our lives has its Beauty and can be explored with curiosity and wonder. The people in my life, both youth and elders, both in my inner circle and those that I meet along the way, offer me sparks of Hope through their trust and openness.

Courage comes from the Heart.

The ability to step up and take a risk takes Courage.

We moved to the North Olympic Peninsula a little less than 2 years ago. I fell in love with the Olympics when our family first visited the Hoh Rainforest, Kalaloch Beach, and Hurricane Ridge. This year I began working as a volunteer with the Olympic National Park, North Olympic Land Trust, and the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. I’m also volunteering with the Juan de Fuca Arts Foundation and spent a wild 4-days dancing, listening to some great music, and meeting people from all over the Northwest at the JFFA Music Festival over Memorial Day Weekend.

As I meet community members in town, hiking, at an arts event, in drumming and healing circles, or while out taking my daily walks we share our stories. At this point I’m being offered so many stories I often can’t remember who told me what. My Swing! nature loves people and the sharing of stories. Ideas are flowing and I’m envisioning what’s next for my play-based work locally and beyond.

I’m playing with Shape and my Organizer. Many of you who read my blogs, have attended archival memoir project (AMP) performances, or participated in Play=Peace workshops or retreats know that I’ve been working and struggling in many ways towards the goal of publishing my first memoir. Well, its been a playful journey!

Years ago an editor at the Whidbey Island Writer’s Conference told me that a memoir is not about the experience but about what follows that experience. I took that to heart and have focused on who I am becoming as I have been writing, re-writing the drafts of my story and its postpartum (or what I’ve learned from my experience and want to share with my readers).

The trouble is that my lived experience and what followed is ongoing, playful, and creative and I haven’t wanted to end the story and send my baby off into the world! I gave one baby away as a surrogate mother and last year gave my son away at his wedding. I’ve just been having a hard time letting go…

Anyone else have trouble letting go?

I’d love to hear about it! I need the en-couragement to let go of this baby so I can FLY!

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